§ Mr. Richards
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to acquire Welsh local authorities to make public buildings accessible to disabled people if these buildings are currently inaccessible; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
It is for owners of public buildings including local authorities, to use their own judgment as to the need for access and the extent to which it is practicable and affordable to improve it.
Statutory powers in respect of existing buildings are limited. Where planning permission is required for development, section 76 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 places a duty on local planning authorities to draw applicants' attention to their statutory obligations in this regard under sections 4, 7, 8 and 8A of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
The building regulations require that access and facilities for the disabled are provided in all new non-domestic buildings including extensions. Research is in progress to see how similar measures might be applied when non-domestic buildings are being altered.